DS, 10.26: Stadium(s) Chatter; Chivas’ Knocks; Bad Ideas; New “Collection of Junk” Feature

Thought I’d try something new for the Friday edition. Watch for sprawl…I have no self-control.

– Stadium news trickled out today for both Houston and San Jose; for what it’s worth, I think Houston got the better news…and that wasn’t all that swell. While a Houston stadium deal seems closer than ever, with an announcement on a deal possible before the end of the year, the article also refers to a “large number of unresolved issues.” As for San Jose, it looks like they found a home for next season…a tiny, tiny, temporary home in need of buildups. A couple blogs posted pictures of the site: depending on your appetite for half-empty or half-full, you should check My Soccer Blog or WVHooligan, respectively. For all the griping I’m doing about the San Jose scene, it’s not so bad really. Small as it is, it is temporary. So, I say they just call the thing intimate and work with it.

– Chivas USA Offside had some interesting updates on the Goats’ injury situation. Some key players are training again.

– The “bad idea” refers to an item on My Soccer Blog about the USL Seattle Sounders moving to Poulsbo, Washington if a Major League Soccer (MLS) team moves into Seattle. Why is this a bad idea? Well, too few people (read: no one) lives on that side of Puget Sound and, unless the demographics have totally changed since my fairly frequent mid-1990s visits to the Olympic Peninsula, the few that do don’t like soccer. Add to that the fact that everyone in Seattle will start watching the MLS club and…well, this is just daffy.

Now for that new feature. As a Web-whore, I spend time looking at a lot of things that aren’t soccer, stuff I find funny or interesting or disgusting – runs the gamut really (though it stops at actual porn). I’ve been wanting to work this in for a while, but unobtrusively, so as to not kill the soccer-vibe. Anyway, here’s a quick round-up of some fun crap I found. Continue reading

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More About Socctober! (More about, um, DC*)

(* Anyone know where I can find a good Chicago Fire blog?  I mean apart from Luis Arroyave’s.  I haven’t seen The Fire Offside in forever.  I only ask that it runs through Bloglines all right.)

I was going to roll this into the Daily Sweeper thing I like doing, but I wanted to delay posting that till later today…and all this stuff was just sitting there…I dunno…just thought I’d get it over with.

First, an angry man named jon, who happens to post on the DC United Offside, reminded me of Rob Stone’s appalling intro segment, during which he hurt all our brains by coining the phrase “Socctober” (um…sp?  No, never mind…don’t dignify this) to celebrate Major League Soccer’s (MLS) post-season tournament.  Yes, this is incredibly stupid.  It’s also harmless.  Soccer fans spend a lot of time agonizing over the often shocking state of American televised commentary; even if jon doesn’t do this in his post, rants against the people foisted on us by ESPN, Fox Soccer, etc. get fair play on soccer blogs and message boards.  But the only thing that surprises me about all this any more is that fans continue to be surprised.  It’s par for the course, right?  These idiots are the norm.  I say revel in it.  Milk it for the “so-bad-it’s-good” humor.  And then you will actually enjoy listening to Max Bretos.  Trust me.

If you’re looking for the link to jon’s post, I held off because the stuff about Socctober doesn’t enter into beyond the title; the body of his comments look at what went wrong for DC last night and asks the question I had while watching last night: where was Bobby Boswell?

Naturally, there are many, many more posts and articles on last night’s games and I’ve got a modest collection of them below.  Enjoy.

Cuauhtemoc Blanco showed up in a couple commentaries.  In one rare stand-out article likely to blind DC fans with rage, Blanco plays the victim and talks of sending video to the refs to reveal the suffering he endured.  Maybe that’s why DC’s players are sufficiently pissed to air their (slightly sad) frustration as Marc Burch did to Yahoo! News’ Martin Rogers:

“It is far from over,” Burch said. “We are going back to our place and we are really good there. We are the best team in the league. We don’t back down. We don’t shy away from tackles. We may play the best football, but I want us to be the toughest team out there as well.”

Images of a slightly tipsy, very thin man being hauled out of a bar with a black eye and bloody nose come unbidden.

Turning to more substantive subjects, DC-philic bloggers weighed in with great commentary.  The DCenters first impression post called out DC’s defenders by name, eviscerating them over the course of a few short sentences, while their full debriefing went deeper still and links to more items than I have here (including me; thanks!).  Max J., jon’s partner-in-crime at the DC United Offside, faulted DC’s Coach, Tom Soehn, for playing poker with his cards lying face up on the table.  And, finally, The FullBack Files flagged the defensive miscues, faulted the refs, but still held on to hope for Leg #2 – appropriate under the circumstances.

More later today…though not on this subject.

Cupcakes/Center Duel: Game Day 1 Standings + Prize Change

I’m tied for first for what will probably be the one and only time.  You think I’m not going to post the score?  Are you kidding?

Before getting to that, however, I have to announce a change to the prize package.  The Man, being uptight, doesn’t allow citizens to ship alcoholic beverages across state lines; so much for the plan of rewarding the winner with sampler six-packs of regional brews.  So, we all agreed to switch things up: the winner of the Center Holds It/Who Ate All the Cupcakes Playoff-Picks Duel will instead receive some culinary delight from the losers’ regional menus.  So, again, damn The Man and let’s move on.

On another subject, I have yet to name my “team” for this Metaverse-Based Soccer Event.  Seeing as we’re going regional, I thought I’d celebrate some of Portland, Oregon’s most widespread entrepreneurs: exotic dancers (due to our free speech laws, we have lots of strippers out this way).  So I’ll roll with the Portland Pole Dancers FC.

With that, I give the Cupcakes/Center Playoff-Pick Duel Standings (all picks appear at various points in this post):

1. El Guero: 2 points

2. Portland Pole Dancers FC: 2 points

3. Breton: 1 point

4. A Tomar Por Culo Bicicleta FC (Ryan): 0 points

5. Longshoe: 0 points

6. E. Charles Blanco: 0 points

I’ll update the standings again on Sunday.

Fire 1-0 DC: Rugby Meets Soccer

At its worst, last night’s Eastern Conference semifinal between DC United and the Chicago Fire looked like a pugnacious midfield scrum in which every ball seemed 50-50, not unlike an endless series of drop-balls put in play by an angry god. Think a lower-tier game in the English Premier League, but without the skill. At its best, the game pitted a DC team moving the ball slickly up to Chicago’s attacking third against a Fire team hunting for DC’s defensive mistakes.

The final score – 1-0 to Chicago – signals one successful kill, but the echoes from a couple other shots were heard around Bridgeview.

Call ‘keeper Troy Perkins DC’s man of the match. His defense left him for dead on the goal, but he saved two other dead-certain goals at least, most notably his brave challenge when Calen Carr broke through late. Given the way DC essentially controlled two-thirds of the field, that one goal disadvantage keeps them well within the margin for recovery for the home leg; emphasis belongs on the word “essentially,” though, because the brittleness of Black and Red’s defense wound up gifting Chicago more clear-cut chances than DC created at the other end. That’s a worrying sign because those breaks came under minimal pressure.

Against that, Chicago’s advantage doesn’t feel all that safe. Their collective struggle to generally connect left them facing relentless pressure, too often close to their own goal. To their credit, though, they limited DC’s chances to a near-range header here (Christian Gomez should have done better) to long-range efforts there; Fred took a number of these and Ben Olsen lashed in low crosses from the right, but neither approach really threatened Matt Pickens’ goal. DC had the rhythm, while Chicago’s rare moments came from smart dribbles out of danger by Wilman Conde, Chad Barrett’s energetic chasing, and Chris Rolfe’s tight control. Speaking of Barrett, losing him for the second game strikes me as a significant loss; who can see Paulo Wanchope causing the stir Barrett did in DC’s back line?

It says plenty about this game that Chicago looked the more menacing side in spite of being hemmed in for long stretches. The rare occasion when things opened up in front of goal, it happened in front of Perkins; when DC reached the Fire’s defensive third, players in red shirts looked so thick on the ground one might think the Fire fielded 15 defenders; Dasan Robinson, in particular, played like two men. And he had to due to Chicago’s repeated problems with playing out of the back.

The second leg should look roughly the same – a somewhat dreary notion that we should all hope doesn’t pan out. About the only escape from a second game of rugby posing as soccer (or is it soccer posing as rugby?) comes with DC scoring – and more than once. I don’t see Chicago leaving its shell for anything less than two unanswered goals. But if the second leg winds up fighting last night’s war a second time, that’s fine too; last night made up in tension what it lacked in grace.

The weekend should be good.

I don’t know how many DC or Chicago fans visit this site, but I’m curious as to how last night’s game looked to you. What do expect for the second leg? Are you approaching with a knot in the stomach or the sun on your back?

Martin Jol Quits Spurs…is Juande Leaving Sevilla?

(HUGE EDITORS NOTE! The source of all this information is apparently The Sun, which means that Juande Ramos may also have found the cure for cancer and achieved peace in the Middle East)

When I got home from classes today and turned on FSC, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Tottenham-Getafe game on. I only caught the last 15 minutes of it, in which Getafe held off Spurs to win 2-1. ¡Aupa Geta!

This game brought forth the end of the Martin Jol era at Spurs, as he stepped down from the club before the match. No big deal right?

It’s a big deal if you are a Sevilla fan!! Juande Ramos has been linked with the Tottenham job all along, and now we will see if all of the rumors and ‘cotilleos’ have been true. I want to say that Juande’s style is not set for the English game, that he isn’t ready to go over to England, yadda yadda yadda, but that is not true.

Juande came over to Sevilla in 2005 from Malaga upon the departure of Joaquin Caparros. Ramos won the UEFA Cup his first year against Middlesbrough 4-0 and then the European Supercup by defeating Barcelona 3-0.

A UEFA Cup repeat against Espanyol on penalties in 2006, a 3rd place finish in La Liga, and a Supercopa de España win made Juande Ramos a rather popular coach down in Andalucia.

The Telegraph says that Spurs are certain to replace Jol with the manchego.

Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, has been unable to hide his disappointment at the team’s worst start for 19 years. As early as August he was linked with a move for Ramos, who claimed at the time that he was committed to Sevilla.

Ramos has steered Sevilla to successive Uefa Cup triumphs, beating Middlesbrough in the final in Eindhoven in 2006 and Espanyol, in Glasgow, in May. The club are in this season’s Champions League and are in a healthy position to qualify for the knockout stages.

The death of Antonio Puerta, Sevilla’s 22-year-old midfielder, in August hit the club badly and it was felt it would be difficult for Ramos to leave so quickly after the tragedy. However, in the Primera Liga, Sevilla have struggled and are presently 11th with just nine points, and the offer from Tottenham is too tempting for the Spaniard to turn down.

Tottenham were unable to provide any satisfactory explanation for photographs of a meeting between then vice-chairman Paul Kemsley, club secretary John Alexander, Ramos and his agent, Alvaro Torres, published by Seville newspaper Estadio Deportivo in August.

Spurs denied they had met with Ramos, but the coach claimed that, through a third party, Spurs had made him an “excellent, dizzying offer”. He later back-tracked, but the link with the Spaniard refused to go away.

These rumors have been circulating for some time now and finally we will see if there is any truth or not.

I for one will be hoping that come tomorrow, I don’t see the headline ‘Juande Ramos new manager at Spurs-

Or Sevilla will have a long climb ahead.